Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Review of "The Apaches," by Jason Hook

 Review of

The Apaches, by Jason Hook ISBN 0850457386

Five out of five stars

Solid primer on the broad term of Apache

 In the popular culture and most superficial study of the American Southwest, it is stated or inferred that the Apache Native Americans were largely a monolith. The most important point made in this book is to refute that position. There were many rather distinct tribal units that were placed under the Apache umbrella, and those differences were exploited by the invaders of European extraction.

 This book contains a brief overview of the Apache ethnic group, from their tribal organizations to rituals of pending adulthood to their religious beliefs. One of the most significant historical points is the statement that in an attempt to gain control over the area where the Apaches lived the Spaniards conducted raids into Apache territory in order to acquire slaves. Juan de Onate enacted a policy of having one foot cut off of all captured Apaches over the age of 25 and requiring them to serve 20 years as a slave. In 1825, the governor of Sonora offered a bounty of 100 pesos for the scalp of any Apache warrior over the age of fourteen. In Chihuahua province, this was extended to 50 pesos for the scalp of a woman and 25 for those of children. In popular culture, it was the Native Americans that scalped their victims for trophies, but in fact it was initiated as a means of bounty to reward those that killed Native Americans.

 This short book helps expose what the battles between the three sides of the wars in the American Southwest really were. It was a fight between the Spaniards/Mexicans, Apaches and the American settlers and army. It also is clear that it was the Apache scouts fighting on the side of the American forces that truly defeated the Apache  resistance.

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